After 26 years, Truckee teaching favorite retires | SierraSun.com

After 26 years, Truckee teaching favorite retires

Renée Shadforth
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun Twenty-six year Truckee Elementary teacher Kay Kennedy is embraced by past and present students at a surprise tree dedication in her honor Wednesday at Truckee Elementary School. Kennedy will retire after this school year is complete.
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Kay Kennedy was attacked by a hoard of students before she even had a chance to see her tree.Students of all ages – second graders through high school graduates – rushed the 26-year Truckee Elementary veteran with open arms to say goodbye to the teacher many say was their favorite.Kennedy will retire from school teaching this year. A couple hundred people – teachers, staff, parents and former students among them – came out to Truckee Elementary to dedicate a tree in Kennedy’s honor after school Wednesday.

“Every student I know who has ever had [Kennedy] said she is the best teacher they’ve ever had … they know she cares about them. She’s very sincere,” said teacher Donna Marshman.With microphone in hand, several students told Kennedy what they remember about her class, why they will miss her and how they still liked her even though she punished them by sending them out in the hall.Dani Hollomon, now 18, had Kennedy as a second grader. She remembered when crews were remodeling Truckee Elementary at the time and all classes were taught in crowded trailers with 31 students per class.

Hollomon remembered a volcano demonstration gone awry, when Kennedy had to call the fire department because the classroom was on fire. Though the fire was a serious matter, the students, along with Kennedy, still found a way to laugh.”She was one of the teachers I actually got along with,” said Hollomon, whose mom is also a teacher at Truckee Elementary. “I don’t usually get along with my teachers. I thought all of my teachers would be like her, but they weren’t.”On the last day of school, Kennedy’s class will do a play – one of her favorite school activities. For many teachers the last days of school are a time when most teachers are putting away their books and organizing less demanding activities. However, Kennedy knows her students enjoy putting on plays, so she’ll do it, said teacher Nancy Wilkins.

“She’s really a first-things-first kind of person, and the first thing for her is the children,” said Wilkins, who has worked with Kennedy for the past 26 years.Truckee parent Sandy Horn attended Wednesday’s tree dedication ceremony. All four of her children went through Kennedy’s class at Truckee Elementary.”It’s the end of an era,” Horn said, waiting to get a photo with Kennedy and all four of her children. “She’s a positive, loving teacher. That’s how she really touches the kids and engages the children in learning.”